Friday, May 02, 2008

What Is Balance?

What does it mean to have balance in your life? Simply put, I think it means to have just enough of everything. I don't mean the absolute minimum requirement of what you need to be happy and content or for basic survival. It means working enough to appreciate play. It means sleeping enough to appreciate wakefulness. It means feeling a little hunger once in a while so you appreciate food. It means experiencing a little loneliness so you appreciate the love of another. It means sometimes feeling sad so you value laughter and joy. It means spending some time by yourself so you appreciate the company of others. The singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie once said, "You can't really appreciate a light unless you have a dark place to put it in". Of course, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Have you ever tried to go to bed at night when all the lights are still on? Have you ever eaten or drank so much that you made yourself sick? Balance is found in the tension of opposites. Balance is not found in extremes. Balance is your companion when you walk the middle path of life.

Every time I write about some concert I have seen, inevitably some one will write me and say "How do you know about all these musical events"? It's very simple. The Internet provides most of my information. I go to the websites of my favorite artists as well as my favorite venues and I get on their email mailing lists. I know about most things weeks or even months in advance. Of course, when all else fails I have friends....and they know who they are...that sometimes stand at the mouth of the cave where I am often hiding. They stand outside and shout "Mikey! Come out and play"! It is rare that I ignore them. Sometimes there is some travel required but I love most road trips. In my opinion seeing live music is worth all the effort it may require. Sitting outside on a summer night with friends, enjoying the sounds of good music, is one of life's great joys. Add a few beers and a late night breakfast, and you have achieved Nirvana. Later this summer I will be seeing the Steve Miller Band, Joe Cocker, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Steve Winwood. Who knows what else may come my way?

It is a good thing to have holy days and holidays and special times like the Kentucky Derby. I concur with the Dalai Lama when he says that all people were born to be happy. It is a good thing to celebrate life. I can't remember who said it but someone put forth the idea that God will be just as upset with those who failed to enjoy all the good things that life has to offer as much as He might be with the people who have done bad things. I have lived 57 years so far. When I look back it is all the good things I remember most. Most of the bad things that have ever happened to me seem like bumps in the road now. The good memories are always fresh and on a boring day when I might get lost in the occasional daydream, they visit me like a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

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